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Web Stalkers
Chapter 5 -
All About Cybercrime

Malice and Libel

  • Was the nature and extent of the plaintiff’s participation in that particular controversy sufficient to justify “public figure” status?

Under some state laws, an individual may become a LPPF by his purposeful activity amounting to a thrusting of his personality into the vortex of an important public controversy.

This section has included some of the intricacies of how liability law works. Another step is to investigate its application to websites. 

Website Liability for Cyber-Libel

The matter of corporate or personal liability in cyber-libel cases often rests on the issue of content control.  Even in cases in which the crime of libel is proven, the questions regarding who is responsible and how far the culpability extends still remains.

An illustration may help explain this concept.  Consider the case of a newspaper charged with libel.  Assume that the crime has been committed and damages are to be paid.  Who is liable?  The newspaper itself, the editors on staff, the writer of the story, the research assistant, the distribution manager, the newsstand operator, the paper delivery boy?

All of these people played a role in the distribution of the newspaper containing the libelous content.  In this case, the answer seems obvious, but the example demonstrates the point clearly.  The liable party or parties are those who were in a position to know the truth and prevent the libel from occurring. 

The above text is an excerpt from:

Web Stalkers
Protect yourself from Internet Criminals & Psychopaths
ISBN 0-97-45993-9-5

by Donald K. Burleson, Stephen Andert

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